Friday, December 2, 2011

But They Really, Really Hate Obama's Policies

Item: Mitch McConnell sure hates Keynesianism and stimulus, but, as Jared Bernstein notes, he's all for "some relief to struggling workers out there who continue to need it" As Bernstein explains: "unless you beleive said workers will take their relief by snuggling in bed with their extra dollars, there’s no distinction here."

Item: Jon Huntsman thinks that Dodd-Frank is a disaster, and wants to repeal it. But as Mike Konczal discovers, what Huntsman wants to do next is...pass something that looks suspiciously like a big chunk of Dodd-Frank.

And of course every time a Republican gets caught having previously supported something that wound up in ACA their answer -- well, at least Romney's answer, but I think generally it's their preferred spin -- is that my exchanges/mandate/whatever was a good policy,but it's nothing like Obamacare. As I said a while back, I half expect Romney or one of the others to come out for repealing the government takeover of Obamacare and replacing it with Free Enterprise Marketplaces and Ronald Reagan Means Tested Vouchers, which would be nothing at all like the exchanges plus subsidies model in ACA.

I suspect this isn't really about Obama just being pretty moderate, and so there's nowhere to go to oppose him on the right. I think it's more about a lack of policy knowledge and interest among Republican politicians; they just don't really have serious ideas at hand to contrast with Democratic policies, and in many instances don't appear to have a good grasp of what those policies are (see: Michele Bachmann, and her wonderful theory that Obama has a secret plan to replace Medicare with Obamacare). And then there's a piece of it that is demand-driven, with conservative audiences wanting to hear that everything Obama wants is radical socialism; it's not acceptable to say, for example, that Dodd-Frank has some things to agree with and some that should be changed.

Anyway, if anyone has more examples of this kind of thing, I'd love to hear it.


  1. It's outside my area of expertise and I'm too busy with grading to investigate. But I always heard that Cap and Trade was Milton Friedman's idea...

  2. NCLB.

    NCLB was a Clinton proposal. And, it was excoriated by Republicans. Then, for some reason, they changed their minds on January 20, 2001. (I think there were some really bad test results released that day, or something like that.) After that, NCLB was awesome, and it won amongst the Rs by 186-34 just 4 months later. (Now, the Dems hardly have clean hands on this, but I'd say they're cleaner. The Dems voted even more overwhelmingly for NCLB; hence, they DIDN'T magically change their minds on January 20, 2001. That said, Dems certainly used NCLB funding to attack Bush over the years. Not the same thing, to be sure, but something. However, by 2009, public opinion on NCLB is decidedly non-partisan. People doubt it works--and seeing the students that go to college, I can't claim our education system is working--but that doubt is relatively equal amongst Ds and Rs (higher amongst Indies, as you'd expect for a "pox on everyone's houses" effect)

    Here's the lede from an article in 1999 in the LA Times: "May 20, 1999|NICK ANDERSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

    WASHINGTON — The most significant debate in years over the federal role in education took shape Wednesday as President Clinton detailed his legislative plans to hold students, teachers and schools accountable for better results and Republicans in Congress pledged a fight to protect local control over school affairs."

  3. @Matt

    (I think there were some really bad test results released that day, or something like that.)

    Some of the worst results we've had in a long time...

  4. A favorite of mine along these lines is the Republican claim that Obama has refused to take on entitlements and will never reform Medicare.

    Of course, with the ACA the Dems did take money out of Medicare and set up the IPAB (and other programs) to make Medicare more efficient and restrict it’s growth.

    The GOP won in 2010, in no small part, by pounding Dems over the head with their Medicare cost controls. Now they insist they never happened and never will happen. The Republicans demand Democrats do something about it. And they are pledged to eradicate the very cost controls they are demanding.

  5. I think there's a lot of this in foreign policy, e.g. Iran and Libya. Was it Romney, or one of the others, who recently pledged to follow Obama's Iran policy while beating up on Obama for his Iran policy? Anyway, it's been happening.

  6. Deficit reduction.

    In 2000 we ran a surplus. Since then, we’ve cut taxes, expanded military spending dramatically, health care costs continue to spiral out of control, and the economy has crashed due to a massive financial crisis.

    We’ve now run 3 years with $1.4+ annual budget deficits.

    The GOP thinks these debts are a massive crisis that threatens the nation’s existence.

    They think we should cut taxes, increase military spending, repeal any government health care reforms, and are opposed to government action to stimulate the economy, or regulate the financial sector.

    The GOP is terrified of the deficit and opposed to the policies that would address the problem.

  7. Spending at +25% of GDP, and budgets extending that spending level are rejected 97-0 in a lefty controlled Senate.

    Unemployment at 9%, while pipelines and oil exploration are blunted, shale gas is a pariah, Boeing is snuffed from creating jobs in SC, regulatory burdens explode (except on Corzine's shenanigans), et al.

    Extraconstitutional war begun in Libya, and troop counts quadrupled in Afghanistan.

    The Justice Department thinks international arms smuggling and resultant official fatalities are part of their portfolio, and are to be kept hidden from the Congress.

    Then there's Bailouts, Porkulus, Cap & Tax and ObamaCare.

    And you're whining about your opposition's hypocrisy? Come on, lefties. That ain't gonna get you no political traction. Everybody already knows politicians are hypocrites. You better plan on getting on the right side of the above, unless you want to get blown out again.

  8. Anon 6:48, nothing to say to the rest, but Boeing's creating (better and more secure versions of) those same jobs in Washington State. Sucks for SC, but there's no net loss to the US of actual or potential jobs in that bargain.

  9. Perhaps, but the power of government is being used to promote specific political backers, much as happened with Government Motors. I guess you can hold up the weak tea "no net loss" arguments, and see what political benefit that brings about, but I can about guarantee the political ramifications of these actions, in the real world, and they won't be good for the Left. Government Motors or no, Obama is at risk of losing Michigan here right now. Ford may have been intimidated into removing those anti bailout ads, but make no mistake, thousands and thousands of current and former automotive white collar employees are well aware of what occurred, not to mention the thousands and thousands of Tier II and Tier III automotive supplier employees who benefited not one whit from the largesse handed to a politically chosen few.

    Once you start buying individual votes, you're in a box. You have to keep buying, and economic conditions and fiscal constraints make that a fool's errand.

  10. @swain, I disagree that deficit reduction was a big issue for Dems. More likely is that divided government kept spending and tax cutting in check as the economy grew. It is, until government wasn't divided anymore in 2001. Something for deficit hawks to contemplate in the voting booth next year.

  11. ModeratePoli,

    I cite deficit reduction as an issue where the rhetoric excites the GOP but where there is a "lack of policy knowledge and interest among Republican politicians; they just don't really have serious ideas at hand"

    I agree that deficit reduction, does not animate Democratic voters.

    This is an issue where Obama really hoped to and tried very hard to strike a deal with the GOP. Because the solutions are both necessary and unpopular the resolution will have to be bipartisan.

    Of course, it takes two to be bipartisan. So, the GOP slams Obama on the deficit while they reject any agreement he offers to address the problem.

  12. It was the lefty controlled Senate that slammed Obama, sorry... 97-0. Once he proved unserious, and that vote count on his budget pretty much makes it unanimous in our body politic that he's unserious, he removed himself from the argument, by his own choice.

    But he then attempted to reinsert himself into the argument, in late Summer, with the whole "don't call my bluff" bit. That got him Gallup 38 and more scorn piled upon him. So he retreated into his box, and will apparently sit it out from here on out, while going into full campaign mode, over a year out, an action without historical precedence in this country. Perhaps a smart move for him politically, but it's over for him policy-wise. The Congress has other fish to fry, and they seem to be assessing him as a non-factor. They know he'll sign whatever they come up with.

    The Ryan Plan is through the House, and sitting on the table. If any of you lefties doubt that there's political will to eliminate a chunk of these future deficits, the facts and reality disprove your doubts. Tell your lefty buddies to pass that Ryan Plan. You don't want to do that, though. So, since we're having a discussion about politicians' hypocrisy, let's make sure the Left's is exposed.

    So now, the House and Senate will fight it out, and the autopen-in-chief will await the results.


    Democratic aides said ahead of the vote that the Democratic caucus would not support the plan because it has been supplanted by the deficit-reduction plan Obama outlined at a speech at George Washington University in April.

    Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) demanded a vote on Obama’s budget to show that Democrats don’t support any detailed budget blueprint.

    McConnell said Obama’s budget “continues the unsustainable status quo.”

    He noted during a floor speech Wednesday that Democrats initially applauded the plan.

    The president’s budget called for ending tax cuts for the wealthy and a three-year domestic spending freeze, saving an estimated $1.1 trillion over 10 years. Democratic senators at the time called it “an important step forward”, “a good start” and a “credible blueprint.”

    No Democratic senator was willing to support it, however, after Obama discussed a more ambitious plan at George Washington University to save $4 trillion over 12 years.

  14. I always think it's funny when people think it's an actual argument to conflate "leftie" and "Democrat."

  15. @swain, sorry for the delayed response (prep for work). I'm glad to see that you see Dem response something the same way as I do. I agree that Republicans talk deficit reduction, then are very reluctant to implement it, and can't admit it to themselves. I have a very short readable post on this topic.

    I think that Obama was late to the deficit problem. He was all about "the sputnik moment" last January, lagging the rest of the country except Congress. What a hideous miss (topic of another post). Not that I'm sure things would be better. The GOP wins the prize for hyperpartisanship in my book.

  16. "I guess you can hold up the weak tea "no net loss" arguments, and see what political benefit that brings about"

    So, you're saying, I'm gonna lie my ass off about your record, and you can tell the truth about it, and we'll see who wins?

    Look, I don't deny that that's true - we will see who wins - but it's something less than a principled argument. If you say the ocean is made of fondue, and I say it's made of water, replying "oh yeah well we'll see who the public believes" is pretty much the definition of bumbling clownery.

  17. It's weak tea because it's not provable, that there is "no net loss". That's why it reverts to the political process.

    The only bumbling clownery entering into this is by those who attempt to buy votes with public cash, as happened here. It can't be done, but the clowns will always try.


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